Week Six: Participatory Journalism – My Bitter Views

Participatory, public, citizen, street; whatever you refer to it as, participatory journalism is a topic with conflicting views.
It seems black and white: people either welcome or reject the phenomenon.
I originally assumed that one group (typically ‘young’) would embrace participatory journalism as it takes advantage of the online realm.
The other group (typically ‘old’) would dislike the idea because of the online component; they are not used to or do not accept and/or like the digital aspect of our society.
Upon reading Thorsten Quandt’s piece on participatory journalism, I found that I was somewhat right in my assumptions:

“One obvious factor seems to divide the two groups: age. In general, the younger interviewees were more supportive of the idea of participatory journalism. Unsurprisingly, they also had a more technophile view of their job, online journalism and societal communication in general. Many older journalists seemed more fearful or at least cautious about changes to their profession.” [1]

We Are Citizen Journalism

It turns out that I do not actually fit into either of these categories considering I am in my twenties and cannot stand this phenomenom (and generally the internet as a whole).
However, my dis-taste for this form of journalism has nothing to do with the obvious age gap.
Participatory journalism is faster and easier than conventional journalism, however, my issue with it stems from the lack of face to face communication.
This type journalism results in news that becomes distorted and barely recognisable from the original idea. Basically, it gets lost in translation.
I find it hard to define journalism however to me this is a brilliant example of how journalism should not be.

“Hearsay and rumours are simply broader examples of the same phenomenon” – Thorsten Quandt [1]


Maybe I simply have a personal dislike for the online realm (she says as she creates yet another blog post) but I am a firm believer in the fact that those who blog, tweet and participate in the online world (yet have no qualifications) cannot label themselves as journalists.
Frederic Filloux appears to share my views on the topic which he demonstrates in his short piece ‘The Oxymoronic citizen Journalism’:

“First, would you trust a citizen neurosurgeon to remove your kid’s neuroblastoma?” [2]

Filloux’s poses a good question which, as I previously touched on, includes the question of qualifications.

In an article by Mathew Ingram, my views are opposed as focus is brought to David Carr’s positive views on participatory journalism:

“Enright asked whether citizen journalism wasn’t a little like “citizen dentistry,” a common criticism levelled by anti-social media types. Carr scoffed at this idea, however, and argued that if Enright were living in a place without dentists and had a toothache, he might not be so scornful of having a neighbour down the street who was “pretty handy with the pliers.” [3]

Although I find it to be amateurish I still cannot deny that participatory journalism is on the rise.


[1] Quandt, T 2011 ‘Understanding a new phenomenon: the significance of participatory journalism’

[2] Filloux, F The Oxymoronic citizen Journalism, 10/04/2013 <http://www.mondaynote.com/2010/05/16/the-oxymoronic-citizen-journalism/>

[3] Ingram, M David Carr on newspapers, Twitter and citizen journalism, 10/04/2013 <http://gigaom.com/2012/09/14/david-carr-on-newspapers-twitter-and-citizen-journalism/>


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